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1. Have clear goals and be realistic about what you want to achieve.

Consider what you want to achieve, whether this be the dream of building your business, eventually having staff, or giving something back to society. Do you want to work less hours, have a better work / life balance, or just be your own boss?

Once you decide, make sure you make your goals realistic and ensure you determine your process goals – the things you will need to do to get you to your overall goal.

Have your goal and objective clear and written down at the start, and keep referring to it to avoid straying off course. Building a business takes time and any distraction is time you will not get back.

2. Be brutal with your time and leverage support around you.

Be strict about working hours, as this may be one of the main reasons you went self-employed in the first place. Don’t be tempted to waste your time: balance your working hours between building your new prospect base, networking for business, and delivering to your customers.

Make sure you have a support network around you. It can be lonely working alone and it is great to have others with whom to share ideas and thoughts to help you and your business improve. These can be colleagues, networking groups, or industry bodies.

3. Have professional standards.

Consider all you do to put the customer at the heart of your business and be professional at all times. Be on time for all appointments and be dressed appropriately, acting professionally on the clients’ premises and following appropriate business etiquette.

Balance what you do as a professional off-line with that online. Make sure your website, invoices and methods of payment are all to a high professional standard. With cost effective business solutions such as QuickBooks Self-Employed, you can easily manage all aspects of your business process in a professional way.

4. Keep close and connected to your industry.

Whatever industry you are in, it will be constantly evolving, and it is key to keep connected, staying close to new developments, compliance, regulations, and best practices. This will help you get the training and certifications you need, as well as remaining an expert in your industry.

5. Maintain your work / life balance.

Focusing only on work is not good for anyone, so do consider what other hobbies or family activities you might enjoy. Maintain your social and family balance and avoid being over-worked.